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  1. #1
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    Sandman fat suspension fork prototypes

    Here are some shots of Sandman's fat suspension fork. These are prototypes made by German Answer (german:A. - lightweight bike engineering since 1995), and are a modified version of their "Flame" inverted suspension fork.

    -105 mm between the fork legs
    -90 mm travel, can be dropped to 15 mm on the fly (climbing mode)
    -495 mm axle to crown
    -approximately 1900 grams

    Andy
    Last edited by fc; 01-28-2013 at 05:02 PM.

  2. #2
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    Nice!
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  3. #3
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    So glad the A to C is low. I don't need more lustworthy items in my life.

    That is sweet though, pricing??
    This is a Pugs not some carbon wannabee pretzel wagon!!

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  4. #4
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    Proper forks for proper bikes...
    As little bike as possible, as silent as possible.
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  5. #5
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    Stock Flame forks are 506 mm A to C. The Sandman versions were done at 495 mm to match the Maverick SC32, since Sandman frames are designed to use the Maverick.
    No word on price yet. The prototypes just arrived, and will be tested in the next few weeks. The first batch of forks will go on complete Sandman Gobi builds.
    Mendon, out of curiosity, what are you comparing to when you say the 495 A to C is low?
    Andy

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andy FitzGibbon
    Mendon, out of curiosity, what are you comparing to when you say the 495 A to C is low?
    Andy
    DUC32 @ 520. I just designed a frame around one, sourced a good condition used one, etc. Having a cool offering show up, now, so close to delivery, would make me do very ill considered things
    This is a Pugs not some carbon wannabee pretzel wagon!!

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  7. #7
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    Hebbe hebbe hebbe!!

  8. #8
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    Time to take on another side job... =)

  9. #9
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    What hub standard? 20 x 110?

  10. #10
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    Interesting! For myself anyways I would rather have a lockout then a silly on the fly travel adj. Can't wait to see the price and what hub is used.

  11. #11
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    The stock Flame fork uses a 20 mm thru axle (I assume 110 spacing- their website doesn't say). The Sandman versions will also use a 20 mm axle, but will come with either a custom wide front hub or with spacers to run a standard 110 hub.
    A lockout is an option on the stock Flame forks, but I'm not sure if one will be offered on the Sandman version, and I don't know if the lockout internal parts from a standard version could be added.
    Andy

  12. #12
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    How is the quality vs. a Maverick?

  13. #13
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    Very interested..

    I am also interested in this fork, always good to have options..
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dmonkey
    I am also interested in this fork, always good to have options..
    No many options around... the SC32 is discontinued and the DUC can't handle wide rims (it narrows down on top), this looks like the only option for 70-80mm rim combo's.

    Reliability: time will tell, the Sandman test crew (including me :-)) will try to break these first 6 prototypes asap. If we succeed, I'll let you know. It's definitely a world of difference when you put them side by side: the SC32 looks like a twig compared to a Flame, the lower leg of a Flame is almost as wide as the upper of a SC32... and certified 1900 grams, I saw them hanging from a digital scale.

    Stiff too: if you take the front wheel on an SC32 between your legs you can turn the handlebars almost 20-30 in either direction (pretty scary in fact if you do that). Not so with the Flame, only a little give.
    With a steel steering tube instead of the stock alu one, they're cleared for tandem use.
    The "countersteering under braking" effect is also gone, and the shortening of the forks' travel on the fly instead of a lockout is also cool for me. The lockout being pretty useless for what I do with my bike, I've been running an SC32 for two years now and I've only once locked it out: on a 30km asfalt stretch.

    But I'll only be able to see what that gives on steep climbs and give it a serious test later this week or during the weekend, coupled to the new titanium frameset - I'll post a few pictures of both in action.

  15. #15
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    so at 105mm width a 100mm rim might be a tight fit? what size rims will you use for your testing?

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by yxan
    so at 105mm width a 100mm rim might be a tight fit? what size rims will you use for your testing?
    Me, I'll run 80mm rims. The other test riders will have 47mm rims. I don't think anyone will even try putting in 100's: this bike/suspension fork combo is made for fast & fun biking on rough terrain - not for slogging through soft & squishy stuff on a singlespeed or on the little ring (terrain and speeds where you don't need front suspension). And fast they are, one of the test crew finished 12th in the solo's men category of the BCBR last year on a Sandman Gobi/SC32 combo. You don't do that on a slug (and 100mm's).
    Those wide rims are great for area's where flotation is THE issue, where there's a thin line between biking and walking. No use to add a front sus there.

    Anyway, on all fat bike rims with a Surly tire you already have about 2" of very sensitive bump absorption. Everything extra is for taking the hurt out of big hits and maintaining control at higher speeds - running my front sus fat bike over rough stuff or downhill continues to put a on my face.

  17. #17
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    fair enough, I guess I know nothing about these bikes, but the tires seem heavy regardless on what rims you put them on

  18. #18
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    Is the Sandman Gobi available in the US? If not, will it be?

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    Quote Originally Posted by caminoloco
    No many options around... the SC32 is discontinued...
    I hadn't encountered this info. Link?

  20. #20
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    I got some nice east coast rocks I can bang these off of if need be.
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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by zombinate
    I hadn't encountered this info. Link?

    Straight from Maverick today: Thanks for the email and interest in Maverick forks. The discontinuation of the SC32 fork is a little bit misleading. The SC32 is going to go through a redesign and since we are small the fork it will be off the market for approximately a year before we have the new one ready. Our current focus is on our carbon DUC models in both 36mm stanchions and 32mm stanchions.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by lancelot
    Straight from Maverick today: Thanks for the email and interest in Maverick forks. The discontinuation of the SC32 fork is a little bit misleading. The SC32 is going to go through a redesign and since we are small the fork it will be off the market for approximately a year before we have the new one ready. Our current focus is on our carbon DUC models in both 36mm stanchions and 32mm stanchions.
    That's about what I heard: "Maverick is putting all its fork eggs into a new double crown carbon fork, called a DUC36 and revised internals for its DUC32". Seems they dumped the old alu version of the DUC32 and go carbon for both models ?
    "Plans to restart production of the (slow selling) SC32 in 2012" - but given their record of keeping production dates... And let's face it, that fork needs more then a simple tune-up. It's from 2004 or 2005, things have progressed a bit suspensionwise since then. It's a decent fork and in my experience very reliable, but flexible as a noodle and a pain the b*tt to take the wheel in and out while keeping it in the same position vs the brake caliper. Seems like every time I take the wheel out I have to re-center my brake caliper...

    So they'll probably do a complete redesign and come up with a brand lower-travel fork, hence my "the SC32 is discontinued".
    .
    Last year the old DUC32 was out of stock and only a handful of SC32 left. I don't know if production of the new DUC forks has started - seems not because nobody carries them. And who knows when... there are some pretty dated threads about the announced DUC36 here in mtbr. If the new SC32 will take as long, we're looking at 2014...

    I found a DUC32 on ebay a while ago, as an upgrade for my old SC32 but it could only handle Larry's on a 47mm rim - alas not my 70mm's...
    From the pictures I find of the DUC36 I don't think it can handle wider tires, it's got thicker upper legs so probably less. And current frame geometry would have to be changed, it seems pretty long (travel seems to wander between 160 and 200mm, depending on the source).

    So if you need a suspension fork for your fatbike in a hurry, grab one of the remaining (?) SC32's, source one from ebay or wait 2 months for the German-A Flame "wide", I think Sandman will offer them as spare parts on their webshop.

  23. #23
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    I would like to try the Flame but wonder how much it will cost in the US since our dollar is so weak.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by caminoloco
    Me, I'll run 80mm rims. The other test riders will have 47mm rims. I don't think anyone will even try putting in 100's: this bike/suspension fork combo is made for fast & fun biking on rough terrain - not for slogging through soft & squishy stuff on a singlespeed or on the little ring (terrain and speeds where you don't need front suspension). And fast they are, one of the test crew finished 12th in the solo's men category of the BCBR last year on a Sandman Gobi/SC32 combo. You don't do that on a slug (and 100mm's).
    Those wide rims are great for area's where flotation is THE issue, where there's a thin line between biking and walking. No use to add a front sus there.

    Anyway, on all fat bike rims with a Surly tire you already have about 2" of very sensitive bump absorption. Everything extra is for taking the hurt out of big hits and maintaining control at higher speeds - running my front sus fat bike over rough stuff or downhill continues to put a on my face.
    I disagree with some of this... since nobody's yet made a susp. fork that would fit a hunddie, seem's kinda silly to make statements about how one might work and since when has it been a question of "need"? I for one would love to find out what a 100mm would feel like on a suspension fork. And, by the way, I spend plenty of time in the middle (and occasionally in the big) chainring. And, even 100's could use suspension goin' fast over the wind packed ripple sections, driftwood,etc. Thing is, most of us, fat biker's that is, ride in widely varying conditions and don't have a van full of optional gear following us to change wheels & etc. every time we go from dirt to soft sand. Wish that crown could be just a little wider! Remember everybody, talk is cheap... lot's of people make lot's of statements, they're just opinions...

  25. #25
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    Amen to that, I really don't see the massive performance difference between a 80mm and a 100mm rim, both will suck for dirt riding compared to a regular 29" inch rim. But certain terrain that is bouncy will make for a more pleasurable ride regardless of rim width. Seems silly to not design something that will take all fat bike rims into account, its niche enough as is, might as well include them all

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by yxan
    Amen to that, I really don't see the massive performance difference between a 80mm and a 100mm rim, both will suck for dirt riding compared to a regular 29" inch rim. But certain terrain that is bouncy will make for a more pleasurable ride regardless of rim width. Seems silly to not design something that will take all fat bike rims into account, its niche enough as is, might as well include them all
    If there's no significant performance difference between an 80mm and a 100mm rim there should be no problem at all for really-wide-rim folks wanting a sus fork: these fit an 80mm rim.

    I have lingering memories of very heavy double wall chopper rims that were only used for staying on top of fluffy snow or squishy sand - not for agressive biking on hard terrain.
    But you guys are right: times are a-changing and 100's are slimming down, tire profiles are getting more XC instead of "flat platform" so it might make sense to start looking for a suspension fork. But you have to draw the line somewhere, and it seems they've drawn it at 80mm. Because these things are already WIDE, like I said, an SC32 looks skinny next to it. I'll see if I can put one side by side for comparison and take a few shots.
    If you put this fork on most fat frames you'd probably have to install a headset with travel limit as it is, otherwise you'll dent the frame with the crowns.
    The Sandman Gobi downtubes are curved to let them swivel underneath - just - without resorting to (in my opinion ugly) head tubes sticking out from under the downtube.

    I made a first, too short testride with them on the newest Sandman (ti frame). Very confidence inspiring, I couldn't find bumps or holes big enough on the stretch I was on but it definitely felt ok. Warping under braking was a non-issue, plenty stiff.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by caminoloco
    If there's no significant performance difference between an 80mm and a 100mm rim there should be no problem at all for really-wide-rim folks wanting a sus fork: these fit an 80mm rim.

    I have lingering memories of very heavy double wall chopper rims that were only used for staying on top of fluffy snow or squishy sand - not for agressive biking on hard terrain.
    But you guys are right: times are a-changing and 100's are slimming down, tire profiles are getting more XC instead of "flat platform" so it might make sense to start looking for a suspension fork. But you have to draw the line somewhere, and it seems they've drawn it at 80mm. Because these things are already WIDE, like I said, an SC32 looks skinny next to it. I'll see if I can put one side by side for comparison and take a few shots.
    If you put this fork on most fat frames you'd probably have to install a headset with travel limit as it is, otherwise you'll dent the frame with the crowns.
    The Sandman Gobi downtubes are curved to let them swivel underneath - just - without resorting to (in my opinion ugly) head tubes sticking out from under the downtube.

    I made a first, too short testride with them on the newest Sandman (ti frame). Very confidence inspiring, I couldn't find bumps or holes big enough on the stretch I was on but it definitely felt ok. Warping under braking was a non-issue, plenty stiff.
    Good point about the clearance issue, hadn't thought about that. My custom ALU fatty was built for the MAV w/ more than enough clearance for wider. Definatly could be an issue going wider w/ some production frames. I still think there's room for rear suspension in FB'ing too. doesn't need to be much. just enough to dampen the rebound of the "built in suspension" of FB tires. On longer soft sand/dune rides the "bounce" of the rebound can get a bit fatiguing. Sand has got to be tough on suspension parts though.... rigid has it's virtues... simplicity for sure!

  28. #28
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    Hmmmm. Speaking as someone with recent experience on a fatbike running 100mm rims, full rigid over rough terrain -


    Comparing it to my normal 29er's - both FS and a full rigid Karate Monkey, the handling is good. The ride at 10ish psi was similar to the KM at 30. The traction, on the other hand, was outrageous - and the flotation over deep, soft, 4wd chewed arroyo sand was almost unbelievable. Slowed me down a bit is all.

    So - a little suspension would be nice. Not a lot, just something in the 50-80mm range. A soft-tail TI frame would be nice. Headshock or Action-Tec fork.

    I noted the bumps more from the back wheel. I note seeing a number of Pugsleys with Thudbusters on them.
    This isn't a "you're doing it wrong" topic.

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  29. #29
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    Yah, whats the projected MSRP on this? whatever you do Sandman... get rid of that upward bent TT! Kinda cool lookin'... on the showroom floor, but I wouldn't want that thing "looming" under my units in the soft stuff!

  30. #30
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    I have no idea what it's going to cost, my job is to try to break it .

    The upward bend doesn't bother at all, it's more visual than real.
    Take a good look at the frame on top of this thread. That's a medium frame and the top tube is actually pretty sloping, even with the upward bend, which in combination with the sweep of the lower tube gives it a real good apperance in real life. Here in Belgium we have a saying that you should never, ever discuss colours, tastes, religion and politics, but I know I prefer that upward sweep look compared to a downsweep - and straight tubes are so boring...

    They tried a more pronounced bend on one of the ti prototypes, but the series will have the lesser bend like the one in the picture above. Tailormade frames in alu or steel for the fluffly crowd are always possible with la carte specs, but the complete bikes (with the upward bend) will be decked out with a dropper seatpost, big brakes and light rims for fast & efficient travel over rough terrain - fully killers .

    I made a bet yesterday with a friend that we'd "compare" each others bikes on an upcoming trip over rough mountain trails. Roughly translated: we'll race each other until one of us crashes, repeatedly . We've done that several times earlier on previous bikes and have always been a close match on comparable bikes, so it will be interesting to see what happens now.
    He's on a spanking new Lapierre Spicy 916 and me on my Sandman... I heard he went to buy protectors today... maybe not a bad example to follow...

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by yxan
    Amen to that, I really don't see the massive performance difference between a 80mm and a 100mm rim, both will suck for dirt riding compared to a regular 29" inch rim. But certain terrain that is bouncy will make for a more pleasurable ride regardless of rim width. Seems silly to not design something that will take all fat bike rims into account, its niche enough as is, might as well include them all
    Careful with your assumptions. Everything said about 29ers regarding rolling over obstacles and traction, at least on loose stuff, is true in spades for fat tires. They are slower for sure but speed is not always the goal for everyone.

    I agree with you that it would be good if you are designing something for fatbikes that it seems silly to exclude part of an allready small market. I hear what Caminoloco is saying about width but once you are way wide what's a little bit wider going to hurt?

  32. #32
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    Yeah, you should probably make it with 250 mm clearance between the fork legs. Who knows what width tire/rim combinations will be available in 5-10 more years.

  33. #33
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    So what was the outcome on testing this fork?

  34. #34
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    price will be at least 1K USD me thinks
    Rudy Projects look ridiculous

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  35. #35
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    Ouch... though I guess if you corner the market, you get to see what the market will bear.

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Diller
    Ouch... though I guess if you corner the market, you get to see what the market will bear.
    The Dollar-Euro exchange rate is not in our favor right now.

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    Good, but still a work in progress. It works very well, very stiff (with steel steerer it's ok for tandem use). On one prototype the valve for the travel adjustment leaked and since the travel adjustment isn't really necessary (you can climb a wall with the fork on full length) it was decided to ditch that valve and with it the twin air chambers in one leg. Less is more.

    In each fork leg there's now one big fat (!) air chamber, running on low pressure (40-50 psi) making it a pretty bombproof fork, such low pressures are super-easy on the seals.
    Last month we've done 6000+ft descents on rough volcanic trails during a whole week and zilch problems. Even when the Hope M4 brakes with metalflex hoses and 203mm rotors went the way of the Dodo (I nearly caused a forest fire when setting fire to dry leaves after crashing due to faded brakes ), the forks on the 4 prototypes we had with us kept swallowing the big hits with no problems.
    I'll dig up a few pictures.

    Sandman also asked for tool-less wheel removal, German Answer is now redesigning the dropout to accomodate that. Once that done it'll be a pretty neat fork on par with the most modern and best working forks out there: stiff, good function and "fat"

    As for price: the sticker price for a normal Flame is 800 Euro, I expect it will be similar.

  38. #38
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    Any idea of a timeframe?

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    Will we even be able to get this over here, without flying over there and smuggling it back ourselves? I've yet to see a "German Answer" product myself this side of the pond. Looks super nice though. Hate to be "teased" with an awesome product that stays just out of reach.

  40. #40
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    I think that GA is making the forks for Sandman exclusively, and Sandman will export. Shipping a frame over here wasn't as bad as I thought it might be (60 Euro) and I was never charged customs duty- I guess they didn't notice it.

  41. #41
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    Thanks Andy, love the beefy look and the idea of being sprung on both sides @ lower pressures. Might take care of the "uneven" "flexiness" of our Asymetrical Mavs. Speaking of the Maverick, mine's on it's way back from the factory right now after full routine service. They said they do plan to move ahead with an improved version of the SC32. No idea when it will be available or what they're doing to improve it.

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    Any updates on these forks?
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    There's some backlog with designing the new tool-less front wheel removal dropouts. I think they ordered a batch "as they were", but will provide a retrofit option for those who buy a fork with the old dropouts and later want to change to the new, improved ones.

    In the meantime, we're still trying to break the prototypes... hard work

    Last edited by caminoloco; 07-09-2011 at 03:10 AM.

  44. #44
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    Good job! Thanks!

    Thank you for the update.. Looks like you are really having fun testing them & trying to break 'em!

    Please keep us posted on any major updates.

    Thanks again.



    Quote Originally Posted by caminoloco View Post
    There's some backlog with designing the new tool-less front wheel removal dropouts. I think they ordered a batch "as they were", but will provide a retrofit option for those who buy a fork with the old dropouts and later want to change to the new, improved ones.

    In the meantime, we're still trying to break the prototypes... hard work
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  45. #45
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    Please, please! I'll break one for you...

    Won't even charge for my time.

    Your riders are obviously too skilful.
    As little bike as possible, as silent as possible.
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  46. #46
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    Looks like you may end up breaking the frame or pretzel the wheels.

    I am not gonna use my fat bike like that.

    There are better and safer ways to fail test equipment. Ways that result in useful data.

  47. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by scottybinwv View Post
    Looks like you may end up breaking the frame or pretzel the wheels.

    I am not gonna use my fat bike like that.

    There are better and safer ways to fail test equipment. Ways that result in useful data.
    I would imagine that German Answer conducted the "useful data" tests before they released the prototypes of the fork.

  48. #48
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    Probably as foolproof as possible, but them fools are getting more cunning every day.
    As little bike as possible, as silent as possible.
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  49. #49
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    I'll be a test dummy. I can't help but wonder about a DH fatbike.

  50. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by scottybinwv View Post
    Looks like you may end up breaking the frame or pretzel the wheels.

    I am not gonna use my fat bike like that.

    There are better and safer ways to fail test equipment. Ways that result in useful data.
    It's perfectly ok that you won't ever use your bike like that, but it might be comforting to know that your bike can handle stuff like that.

    If we pretzl the wheels or break a component, it means that they're probably not built strong enough. Sandman wants their bikes versatile, built for all uses, be it beach or snow cruising, long XC or AM marathons or enduro/freeride/downhill. And they're getting there: last week one of our team finished 3rd overall in a 3-day marathon in Wales. Now we're putting the exact same bikes through their paces in the Megavalanche in Alpe d'Huez - we only changed the pedals and the grips.
    Try hucking a marathon fully or an offset spoked fatbike off that chalet .

    And another one from our team is at this moment putting another identical bike through its paces during the TransPyr, a gruelling 7 day marathon straight through the Spanish Pyrenees. Days of more then 7-8000 ft of positive denivelation. And he's having a blast on it.

    The best way to find out that the bikes are really up to all kinds of abuse is to give them and their components hell for as long as possible before putting them on the market. No lab test can duplicate a bike being tossed around for months on end.

    I organise mountainbike holidays for a living (for the last 18 years) and I know perfectly well which models from what (often very big, established) brands always break in the long run. And which don't.
    All those "bad" models were lab designed and tested. But apparently not enough in real circumstances...

    The only Sandman frame we managed to break so far was last year in the British Columbia Bike Race. On the last day in Whistler and on a very steep descent a banjo fitting of the rear brake came loose and the descent ended full speed straight into a big tree. The frame buckled somewhat (front wheel and forks were fine), derailleur and chain broke, a shoulder got dislocated, handlebars bent and the race was finished running - in 16th position of the solo men category .

    As for field-testing these forks: we found out that one of German A subcontractors wasn't fabricating a part with the regular tolerances anymore. They themselves weren't aware of that (yet), but we caught it early.
    Same with the rebound: for "normal" XC or AM use the forks were and are perfect. But we found out that if you very fast over a rough, rocky downhill course you need a bit quicker rebound. They're going to widen the adjustability range now.

    Again, nice to know that whatever the use you'll put it to, your bike and it's components can handle it.






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